An enigma, wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, wrapped in a tortilla... yum.Hello Shadow fans and welcome to another great installment of the Shadow Knows. Sorry this one is coming a lot later in the day. Life always likes to throw us the occasional speed bump and today I hit about a dozen. Now what does the Shadow know today? Well if you are changing a fan belt you should always turn off the engine first. I know you say. That sounds crazy you say. Why would you need to do that you say? Well I am here to say that if you don't you will never get that darn belt on. No matter what you do you can't get those belt pulleys to stop turning. They are like machines or something. I know it is crazy, but then again so is life. So now onto podbean.com and How I Geek with Greg and the gang. The topic of discussion will be our week in TV so to speak. We are to pick our prime time line up and discuss what our ideal TV prime time week would look like (past or present TV shows). To be honest and no offense to Greg but I am not looking forward to this one. I think we should just talk about shows we'd like to see make a comeback. I think that a lineup show with five people with burn up too much time and make the show a lot to lengthy. I will be the first to admit I could be wrong. Greg still continues to put together great shows so I have faith in the lad. So if you like TV then come check it out. We always have fun either way. So be there of be square daddy-o. The poodle skirts are optional.
So now Shadow fans on to the topic at hand. What is it you ask that we are to discuss? Well I want to talk about the mystery. Since I was a young puppy I loved to watch mysteries with my Grandfather and old westerns, but I already discussed those. From the serious, to the comedic, to famous books turned movie the mystery has been around since the birth of cinema. I love how they have integrated the mystery into TV as well with crime dramas like CSI and NCIS. I think what I like most about them is that they are each a big puzzle that needs to be put together. The problem is that I have seen so many I am rarely surprised anymore. Still they are a lot of fun to watch and I remain faithful to them because every once in awhile they will surprise me and go in a direction I did not expect. I love that feeling of being surprised and it is awesome when I can find a movie that can do it to me. Like M. Night Shyamalan's the Sixth Sense I did not figure it out until the end. When I look back on the movie now the clues were there, but you were so distracted with what was going on you miss them. In truth it is the only good movie old M. Night has ever put out, but hey we can't win em all. So what is to follow is a few of my personal favs. I hope some of you enjoy them as much as I have over the years.
First up is that awesome Chinese, American Charlie Chan. Mr. Chan was brought to life by writer Earl Derr Biggers in 1919. Biggers created Chan with the intention to stem the "yellow peril" rampant during the era. This concept of yellow peril was the way that westerners viewed the Asians coming to our country and fearing they would ruin our economy and steal our jobs. This is very similar to how Mexicans are viewed today. I suppose we westerners always have to have someone to demonize... blah! Any who, back to the show. During this age of cinema Asians were depicted as villains and Biggers wanted to take the character in a completely different direction. He made him wise, not brash, and heavy. You know kind of like if Confucius was Santa Claus. Chan is Chinese by birth, but immigrated to America and became a citizen joining the Honolulu police department. He is considered the worlds leading authority on solving crime and is often tapped by other nations for his help. Chan is a family man and has many children as depicted in the many movies made. His children all want to be crime-fighters and do their best to prove themselves to their dad by throwing themselves into his cases. This of course causes all kinds of amusing situations. On the big screen Charlie Chan was played by a few different actors but the two most notable were Warner Oland and Sidney Toler. Toler took over the role from Oland when Oland died in 1938. Both actors brought their own flair and style to the role and neither were Chinese (Oland being Swedish and Toler being American). All in all I love the way these movie blend humor with the thrill of the mystery. They are still a fun watch for me and when a marathon runs on TMC I am there with popcorn and a smile. You can still find these on Netflix. So if you have never seen Charlie Chan go quickly youngling and check him out before the new movie finally comes out and spoils your view. Yes that is right for some time now Lucy Liu has been working on bringing out a new Chan movie and breath some new life and the old boy. I just hope it is not a major let down.
Next up is the Thin man series. This 6 movie series is based on The Thin Man novel by Dashiell Hammett published in 1934. Hammett is also famous for writing the Maltese Falcon of Humphrey Bogart fame and another great mystery story. This series of movies star William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles. Nick is a retired detective who married a very rich and lovely woman, who happens to be a bit of a thrill seeker. When a friend of Nicks goes missing and his friends love interest is found dead Nick is asked to take the case by his friends daughter. The police believe that his friend murdered his secretary and fled from justice. Nick discovers that in fact it was a double murder over money and his friend was dead as well. Nick is often thought to be the Thin Man, but in reality the Thin Man is the man he is trying to find in the first movie. This is another series that throws some comic twists in with the mystery and drama. I love this series and how well Loy and Powell worked together. This is one of those series of movies that if you have not seen them you are truly missing out. They are fun and the stories are well put together for the time. I have heard nothing of any reboots for these movies in the future, but I would be the first one in line if they do. I just hope whoever does them treats them with the respect they deserve and does not dish out warm donkey poo that we see in some reboots.
Next up on the block is the infamous Sherlock Holmes. Holmes was created by the brilliant Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887 within the pages of the Strand magazine publication. Doyle also wrote the infamous story the Lost World which has had its own movies and TV series adapted from it. Sherlock Holmes is a genius detective followed closely by his friend and companion Dr. Watson. The pair solve many mysteries together over the course of many years each tale woven by Doyle is like a fine orchestration and are a wonder to read. Moving from novels to the screens (large and small) my three favorite Holmes actors thus far have been Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett, and Robert Downey Jr. Downey not being British still did a fine job in my humble opinion. Well he did as good a job as an American actor playing a Brit can. For a long time the only Sherlock Holmes I liked was Basil Rathbones portrayal of the infamous detective. Though they were redone stories told at that time in a more modern way. They were still wonderfully done and entertaining as I see it. Basil did radio dramas of the original stories that I found in later years and enjoyed very much to listen to. It was not until the mid 80's to the mid 90's that we get Jeremy Brett's portrayal of the famous detective and I was blown away. Now when I imagine Holmes it is the face and voice of Brett who enters my mind. When he died in 1995 it was truly a sad day. Now there have been other shows featuring Holmes and most I have not seen. In 2012 CBS aired Elementary starring Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Watson. It is a very modern take on the old tales and I love it. This show is well done and fall into the category of a straight up homage to Doyle and his genius. I deduce you must watch this show and enjoy it in all it's glory and if you don't like it well I blame aliens. Their evil brain washing is everywhere. So you beware... beware.
Well my fine shadowy friends that is all the time we have this week for the Shadow Knows. Tune in next week where you will hear M. Night say "would you like an apple pie with that" and then soon discover that the pie is not apple but rather cherry... What a twist!!! So Shadow fans do you enjoy a good mystery like me? What are you personal favs? Are mysteries even relevant anymore? Of course they are, but I have to ask. Did you hear that? I think them brain washing aliens are back. I hope they did it right this time. I told them no starch! Starchy brains make for itchy brains and nobody likes an itchy brain. So till next time folks I will see you from the shadows.